RFID Tag A Tree?
RFID can be used for many more applications than might seem evident. Subni RFID Webservice is a social networking website that encourages people to tag objects and map metadata to this site's database. For example, if you tag a tree, I presume that you can share information such as latitude/ longitude, type, age, city, country, date of tagging condition of tree, etc.
I say "presume" because while you have to register to use the service, they tell you after you waste time filling out the form that they're not taking new members. (They also don't bother setting up the form for anyone outside the U.S.) However, their applications page diagrams what look like very interesting applications - with no text whatsoever to describe them, unfortunately.
Basically, at the time of this writing, this site is a tease, hinting at what could be. Very frustrating but also exciting. For example, they describe a Subni application called Soundtag, which converts information from an RFID tag on a prescription bottle to sound. This would help visually impaired people know that they have the right medication. This is a brilliant idea, and while other companies might be doing something similar, I haven't come across it elsewhere.
Other applications that they describe on the site suggest tagging physical objects. This has the potential for some powerful municipal applications.
For example, amongst the client computing projects that I've worked on, one of the more interesting ones was a forestry-style application for a municipal tree database. For the sample database, I drove around wooded areas and photographed a few clusters of trees. Theoretically, I would have attached some identifying badge to each tree, then recorded approximate geographic coordinates. This information from the field would have been synced up with a central database later, when I "got back from the field."
Now imagine if there was an easier way to manage such a database, and make it central. So put it online, and use durable RFID forestry tags. Provided handheld readers have a wireles connection to the Internet, field agents could update a database - private or public - in real-time. Add environmental sensors and a memory device like the i-Disk RFID flash drive, and environmental conditions could be stored for later analysis.
In fact, any municipal assets such as park benches and bus shelters, could be tagged in this manner. What might also help is a means for citizens to report problems with an asset. At present, if a tree goes down, a bus shelter is smashed, etc., a citizen makes a call and gives the nearest intersection.
In the future, they might be able to use their NFC-enabled cell phone (dual-mode Wi-Fi/ cellular) to call in the information using a VoIP application over a municipal Wi-Fi network. The VoIP client could file-share the data from the asset's RFID tag, minimizing what a citizen has to do. And if tags had IP addresses, like RuBee tags do, the information could be accessed remotely, saving municipalites the cost of gasoline, wear and tear on city vehicles, and the scheduling of personnel - except when needed.